Solon business owners credit community growth, not pandemic, to staff shortages

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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SOLON, Iowa (KCRG) - Restaurants in Solon and across Iowa have been at full capacity dining for a while, and some business owners in town are slowly trying to get back to normal.

Nick Craig, the owner of the Brass Fountain, said they still need to fill several positions before the Main Street restaurant can have its grand opening.

“It’s about supply and demand, what’s going on out there not just with physical products, but also getting staff and people,” Craig said.

Other places, like the Dairy Queen on the city’s southern edge, have been open for 14 years and done really well in Solon. But they still haven’t opened up their dining room because of not enough staffing now, and no 2020 to build up a workforce.

“We lost most of our staff through the pandemic, and most of those that didn’t come back I’m still trying to replace,” Robin Ruzicka, the ice cream shop’s owner, said.

City leaders said many places in town are facing similar problems, but they credit it to the growth of the community rather than the lack of a workforce.

“I think it’s kind of the whole town has help wanted signs. Everybody is having staffing issues,” Ruzicka said.

Still, owners are optimistic to fill their open positions and do so soon.

“We did believe that at some point the pandemic would be over. And we tried to kind of time it for that,” Craig said.

Others plan on taking this process day-by-day, and not look too far ahead.

“Most of my people are students from the school. So when they go back to school, that will short us on our staff again so we may end up having to close the dining room again in the fall depending on what we can get for staff,” Ruzicka said.

The Dairy Queen hopes to open its dining room by the end of the summer. The Brass Fountain hopes to have its grand opening within the next several weeks.

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